Furious 7 is so preposterously overblown that you cant help but sit back and grin at the sheer lunacy of it all. These characters who once started out as street racers who stole dvd players to finance their tricked out cars, are now full-blown superheroes, capable of defying gravity, surviving horrendous accidents, and vicious beatings. After scaling new heights in the previous outing, this latest installment is a step backwards. The plot meanders too much and the Statham character isn’t given much to do outside of two fight scenes. This could all be the reactionary effect of having the production halted in November 2013 due to the tragic death of series’ star Paul Walker. Body Doubles and CGI have been expertly used to cover for the late actor, but he is noticeably absent from many scenes, presumably due to a script that was reworked midway through shooting. Still, with all the production difficulties Furious 7 is good popcorn entertainment with a touching send-off to Walker’s character Brian O’Conner.
Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is out to avenge the death of his younger brother Owen Shaw. The men responsible are Sgt. Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Tej (Ludacris), along with the tough chick Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). In an early scene Deckard confronts the mammoth Hobbs, and we quickly realize that Shaw is a man capable of bringing down an ox. The encounter leaves Hobbs laid up in the hospital and Toretto looking over his shoulder. Then word comes in that group member Han has been murdered in Tokyo. Simultaneously, a bomb detonates at Brian’s home nearly killing him, Mia and their young son. So, once again the crew is assembled and a battle plan is established to take down the villain.
Kurt Russell appears in a cameo as a shadow agency head that enlists Toretto to track down a lovely female hacker in the middle east and rescue her from the clutches of a foreign arms dealer. The girl holds the technological key to unlock an advanced satellite surveillance system. This extraneous sub-plot takes the characters to the desert city of Abu Dhabi, and sets the stage for the film’s most ridiculous set piece in which a car jumps from skyscraper to skyscraper.
James Wan takes over directing duties from series’ regular Justin Lin and the styles are extremely similar. As with the previous sequels, characters from earlier movies pop up in small roles, these are nice reminders of how we have grown with this franchise, these actors and the roles they inhabit. Furious 7 isn’t innovative, original, or well-written. These failings can be forgiven for a few reasons, namely few sixth sequels can claim ownership of any of those aforementioned attributes, and the good-will built up over the last fourteen years goes along way in enjoying these movies.
Director: James Wan
Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham